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Packer boys soccer alumni play for a good cause

Current and former Packer boys soccer players can take more pride than usual in tomorrow's annual alumni pre-season scrimmage. This time they're playing for one of their own.

The scrimmage will help raise funds for Ronnie Engelking and his wife Erika. Ronnie is fighting stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma. Both are former Packer soccer players.

"When it's closer to home, if you will, people seem to find time to do a lot of things for people that mean something to you,' said Packer boys head soccer coach Doug Millar. "He is still part of the soccer community."

Engelking is a 2002 West Fargo High School graduate, and was an all-state defender his senior season as well as a team captain. The Packers took second at state that year.

West Fargo soccer is asking alumni to pay a minimal registration fee this year to participate or be on the sideline. The scrimmage is scheduled for tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. at Lodoen Stadium.

"It's all a way for us to show that we care about (the Engelkings)," said Millar, adding that this season's scrimmage promises to be as competitive as ever.

"Even though it's really kids versus adults, there's a rivalry. No one wants to lose, and everyone is looking for bragging rights," said the coach, who encourages area residents to come out and show support for the Engelkings.

The high school season's official start date was Monday. Contact Millar at 282-7879 for further information.

Flyers win again

It's official. As expected, the West Fargo Flyers swimming club won its fifth consecutive team state championship recently.

Fifteen separate West Fargo swimmers became state champions during the state title win in Mandan.

A whopping 69 West Fargo Flyers had qualified for the big meet where West Fargo swimmers set 11 state and overall records. Even Flyers' coach Jeff Steele got in on the act, winning the coach of the year award.

"I'm really proud of the kids," said Steele. "Once you get on the top it's kind of a struggle to stay there. These guys have done it five times in a row now, and it's a pretty good feeling."

The Flyers have collected every state championship honor since the summer of 2007. There are two state title meets a year, the short course in March and the long course in August.

"A lot of our kids give up four to six hours of their day during the summer to train. They get up at 5:30 each morning and a lot of them come back for more in the afternoon. It's a big commitment," said Steele.

Club swimming meets feature boys and girls teams, but swimmers only compete in the pool against those of the same gender and those close to the same age.

Flyer swimmers breaking over-all state records include Lexie Halberstadt (50 and 100 butterflies) and Brandon Olson (400 free). Both broke state meet records as well, along with Ethan Doll in four events, the 200, 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle events. The 400 medley relay of Chelsea Gentzkow, Paige Weisz, Halberstadt and Alyssa Olson also established a new state record. All were state champions as well.

Those champions include Carson Keller (seven individual state titles) Doll (six), Halberstadt (five) and Alan Repak (five)

Steele compared this state title to the last four.

"The first one was really exciting, because West Fargo had never won a state championship," he said. "This one was pretty special, the way that the team came together and did what it needed to do."

All state champions and their age groups are listed in the scoreboard found in this week's issue.